Quantcast

3 Charts Prove the Solar Revolution Is Here to Stay

Business

The rise of solar power allows a further democratizing of the electricity system, and these charts illustrate how 2014 was a banner year for solar, but particularly distributed solar power.

First, the following chart shows that 2014 opened on the heels of an impressive year of solar growth. In 2013, more than 20 percent of new power plant capacity was from solar power, and a further 6 percent from residential solar alone! This is up from just 12 percent in 2012.

The year 2014 opened with a solar spark, with nearly two-thirds of new electricity generation coming from solar in the 1st quarter of 2014. Over the first three-quarters of last year, solar provided 36 percent of new capacity, with an astounding 17 percent from projects 1 megawatt and smaller on residential and commercial property. Yes, nearly 20 percent of new power plants were located at U.S. homes and businesses, not on power company property!

The growth of solar was driven in part by continued falling costs. The installed cost of solar fell 8-9 percent through the first half of 2014.

The solar wave that continued building in 2014 isn’t likely to recede any time soon, as ever-better economics let more customers seek a solar alternative to their utility. In fact, customer-owned solar has become a flashpoint in state policy battles between electric companies and their customers, even over the future business model of the electricity system. Along with energy efficiency, it represents a $48 billion opportunity for electric customers to reclaim money they currently send to their electric provider.

Does the solar success in 2014 mean 2015 will be another banner year for solar power? It’s hard to see why not.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Wind Turbine Trees Generate Renewable Energy for Urban Settings

Solar Included for First Time Ever in State of American Energy Report

9 Big Market Breakthroughs of 2014

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pro-environment demonstrators on the streets of Washington, DC during the Jan. 20, 2017 Trump inauguration. Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky

One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.

Read More
Mt. Rainier and Reflection Lake on Sept. 10, 2015. Crystal Geyser planned to open a bottling plant near Mt. Rainier, emails show. louelke - on and off / Flickr

Bottled water manufacturers looking to capture cool, mountain water from Washington's Cascade Mountains may have to look elsewhere after the state senate passed a bill banning new water permits, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Large storage tank of Ammonia at a fertilizer plant in Cubatão, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Luis Veiga / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.

Read More
At high tide, people are forced off parts of the pathway surrounding DC's Tidal Basin. Andrew Bossi / Wikimedia

By Sarah Kennedy

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.

But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.

Read More
Lioness displays teeth during light rainstorm in Kruger National Park, South Africa. johan63 / iStock / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of government negotiations scheduled for next week on a global plan to address the biodiversity crisis, 23 former foreign ministers from various countries released a statement on Tuesday urging world leaders to act "boldly" to protect nature.

Read More